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Pody's column: Fresh from the garden

Katherine Zeralsky is a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She wrote that people are more aware of the harmful chemicals inhabiting food from the epoxy resin in most canned foods. Much of our food is preserved in cans with this lining. She went on to talk about the concerns of drinking from aluminum soda and beer cans and unhealthy levels sugar and salt often used as premeditative.

Last week I spoke with one of our readers. She was so excited when she called as she had received the first seed catalogue of the year. Last year she and her three children had planted a small garden in their back yard but this year they planned to either rent a plot at the community garden or have a garden at a farm in the area.

She said the entire family last year so enjoyed reading about fruits and vegetables. Even though vegetables were the priority, the family learned a lot about flowers, shrubs and trees. They planted two rhubarb plants and strawberry plants in the back yard.  They didn't get a lot of produce the first year but they're looking forward to this summer.

She said some of their plants will come from potting plants and nurseries, but reading up on different varieties would help them decide what was best for their needs.

She also said after the first, they go to garage sales and consignment stores for used  Ball, Atlas or Mason glass jars.

Last year they purchased all their basic needs for canning and freezing at used prices.

She was at Fleet Farm during the holidays and found regular and wide mouth lids and rings in a closeout section. She bought them all 90 percent off the regular price.

Over the holidays they had company from down South. They have a lemon tree in their back yard. They picked a big box full and our reader saved the  zest and froze  the lemon juice in ice cube trays. Each cube is one tablespoon of lemon juice. When they are frozen, six cubes are put in bags in the freezer.

Even though our supermarkets stock fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables year round, home canning has jumped 40 percent over the past three years.  The younger generations are eating healthier, tired of getting tasteless fruits and vegetables that so often come with a recall or warning. They are demanding more healthful foods for their money, well aware of the harm aluminum does to individuals.

Yes, people are getting smarter with the high costs and contamination of food.  Home canning is done in reusable glass jars, picked when produce is at its peak and made with healthful ingredients.